The Federal Aviation Administration has notified the U.S. Bankruptcy Court that it may seek penalties against American Airlines related to ongoing safety investigations.

The FAA may seek up to a record $162.4 million in potential civil penalties from American Airlines parent AMR Corp., which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, according to a report published Monday night in The Wall Street Journal.

The FAA said in a statement that it filed the claims “to protect the interest of U.S. taxpayers.” The claims include proposed and potential civil penalties in connection with ongoing enforcement cases involving both American Airlines and American Eagle, it said.

“The FAA has never proposed to American civil penalties for what is listed as $127 million of the total,” said Bruce Hicks, a spokesman for Fort Worth-based American. “The investigations never progressed to that point.”

The FAA’s filing is “not an admission that money is owed, nor is it an admission that the amount cited is correct,” American said in a separate statement. “Safety is fundamental to the success of American Airlines, and at no time did American operate an aircraft that was unsafe for flight. Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers, our people and our planes.”

American said it and the FAA continue to discuss “the alleged violations and possible ways to resolve this consensually.” Both parties said the investigations remain open.

The FAA is seeking a total of $156.5 million from American alone for alleged maintenance problems going back to 2007, according to The Wall Street Journal. That sum includes one previously disclosed civil penalty ($24.2 million) proposed in 2010 for the airline’s alleged improper fixes of electrical wiring around landing gear on its MD-80 fleet in 2008.

American has “worked very closely with the FAA to further enhance our quality and compliance processes,” the airline said. “Since 2008, we have targeted several key areas for continuous improvement enhancements, including making voluntary investments in more than 70 individual projects.”

The airline also said it has worked with the FAA to improve staff training, expand its surveillance and oversight departments and reorganize its operational groups.

AMR filed for bankruptcy in November. The company last month won court approval to extend from September through Dec. 28 its exclusive right to present a plan to emerge from bankruptcy.

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